Author's note: I wrote for a contest at first but then I ran out of time and decided to write for my friends,... Show full author's note »
Lonely SaviorFaint sunlight spreads across my letter, melting into the black ink. For the first time summer seems more desirable than winter. I drop my pen and tuck the bulky curtains away to get a glimpse of the full sun – but it blinds me. I focus my strained eyes on my unfinished letter; the pain flows slowly as the warmth dries my tears. I can’t help but to smile for no reason. Death to me now is an unfinished sentence, an incomplete conversation.
I look up to see Sister Roberta, her worried frown knowing my deep anguish. She quietly stands beside me and places a small box above my mess of papers. I thank her, not even making an attempt to open it. It’s rude of me, but I cannot seem to function properly. I may never for the rest of my life.
“It’s from him.”
My heart sinks. Sister Roberta pats my shoulder and leaves the room for me to face the box that is before me. I sit there for a moment staring at the package. I am afraid to open it. I am afraid of another piece of his disappointing news.
I tumbled over a sharp rock and rolled down a gentle hill powered in shimmering flakes. Echoes of angry barks rippled in the wind. I covered my ears and continued my unknown trek. I took no notice of winter’s beauty; only the fear in my heart that grew with each stride. There was no moon to guide my path. My vision went blurry denting everything in sight a hazy orange. Stomps thundered behind me. I was tackled to the icy earth. The harsh breath of the wolf fumed in my face. I felt sharp teeth clasp down on my arms. There were more wolves. The wolf on top of me bit down on my neck. No sound came out of me. Only blood trickled down my bare skin and soaked into my skimpy blouse. The wolves snarled at the clamor coming from the darkest part of the forest. Something like lightning pierced through the viscous creature.
I saw another figure’s shadow looming towards me. I wondered if I had done the wrong thing. At that point I did not care to live.
Someone’s hand brushed against my chest. I hoped it was the hand of death, ready to steal my soul from my weary body. I parted my eyelids to meet dancing shadows of a fire. Was I in hell? No. I was in a cozy room tucked away in a soft bed propped against a frosty window.
“You’re safe now.” A young man assured me, his voice fading into the quiet atmosphere. I opened my mouth to ask why I wasn’t dead but nothing came out. I jolted up ignoring the pain burrowed in my chest and arms. I wrapped my fingers around my throat as if a tight collar were around it. I couldn’t speak. Only the panicked breaths came out. I pointed to my neck, tears trickling down my cheeks as I tried to get the man to understand. He handed me a mug of water and I hungrily sipped the refreshing liquid. I coughed and cleared my throat, wiping at my wet chin.
“What is your name?”
I said nothing at first, cautious to speak. I handed the empty mug back and carefully looked at him.
“Are you from the village?” he asked leaning his face closer. I gazed back at his chestnut eyes. His voice was rough hinting off an annoyed impatience. I was actually a run-away from an orphanage far from this area. I shook my head. I rose up to take a look at myself and I caught a glimpse of my bandaged hands and knees, before he pressed me back down against the comfy sheets. “Lie back down,” He ordered. “And stay here.”
He gathered a few items and began to leave the room.
“My name is Vinita.” I spoke up loudly.
“Simeon.” He replied hastily as he shut the door.
Simeon was a woodcutter. I remember waking early in the morning to hear the loud thudding of his axe slamming against a trunk. Through the window I watched him strike the tree, his face blood red and knuckles pale white as he gripped his tool tighter with each hit. There was a hidden fury in him that I could not figure out at that moment. I shifted out of bed and staggered into the living room. I’ve never seen such a well organized place. Shelves packed with books stood in almost every corner. A fireplace filled with dusty ashes. A gleaming table was stationed before a rusty stove.
I walked over to the shelves and traced the vast rows of novels, recognizing few of the titles.
Simeon came in and slipped out of his jacket. His auburn curls shone in the morning glint. He frowned at my presence as he strode past me towards the stove. I picked a random book and went over to the rocking chair pretending this place was my own without the man. I was glad to find pictures in the torn pages and I scanned the beautiful drawings of landscapes and flowers.
“Young lady.” His voice invaded my focus. I dropped the book and scurried over to the table surprised to find a fresh meal before me. Eggs and ham and a mug of milk. To me it was a feast I have been so used to gruel and water that I found eating rather a chore. The smell lured me to sit down and without hesitation I stuffed my mouth with the food. Simeon lightly smacked my hand. I winced and glared at him.
“You may be lost but you are not a savage.” He glared back. Simeon handed me a silver utensil. He sat at the other end of the table, his back straight as he ate quietly. My plate was soon empty. I got up and stood beside Simeon who gave me a curious look.
“Thank you.” I said to show him that I was not a savage and that I knew my manners very well. Simeon nodded and got up to collect the plates.
The door slammed open and a woman barged in a heavy fur coat.
“Oh, Simeon I just found the most perfect …who is this?” she sniffed at me.
“Rosi.” he took her by the hand and brought her farther away from me. I watched her slip out of her heavy coat, before tackling him with a vulgar hug. He shoved her away and murmured lowly to her. She casted me a sly glance and laughed.
“You’re stuck with her. No one will take her in. Maybe she’s strong enough to meddle about on the streets instead.” She spoke loudly.
Simeon continued to whisper, angrily clutching her shoulders. Her gold ringlets bounced as she heartily giggled. He gave up speaking in a regular level.
“Could you take her in?”
“No…how about the priest and –“
“Still loathing are we?”
Simeon said nothing and knelt before me like a privileged knight.
“Vinita. I’ll find somewhere for you to stay. Would you like a new dress?”
I dropped the book and fiercely nodded.
“Of course you do. Don’t want to be stuck with my wardrobe.”
“Like I said, Simeon, she’s your responsibility. You’re the one that found her.”
“Pay no attention to that woman. She doesn’t live here.” Simeon said ignoring her presence at the moment.
“Hmm. Then I shall see you another time.” Her hoarse voice drifting off. She slammed the door seemingly unsatisfied with her visit.
Simeon lifted me into his arms and trekked out of the forest following a clear path into the town. It felt strange to leave the forest as if I were a dying fish out of water. I basked in his balmy warmth, holding on dearly to his neck. I didn’t want to go there. I pushed against him as if I could force him to turn all the way back. Despite my rebellious resistance he walked on and I timorously shook as we neared the town’s entrance. One thing I quickly learned was that the elderly people of that simple town had a strong odium for him. Spiteful stares followed us down the cobblestoned streets. A group of wrinkled ladies loudly broached accusations at the sight of us. Simeon kept on walking as if he were a deaf man. Two boys caked in moist dust hurled marbles at me denting my forehead. Simeon glared at them and the boys ran off into a dark alley their laughter echoing off the slimy walls. Slowly I forgotten my worries and anticipated a new beautiful dress. We passed several boutiques. I shook his shoulders and pointed at the sky blue dress on display. Blue is in fact the loveliest color God has ever created. A cheery bell rang as we entered. He set me aside on a bench, leaving me there to excitedly swing my aching legs back and forth. A plump lady came over to me with several dresses I did not approve of. I pointed at the displayed dress. Simeon said that it was for grown women but I refused until I at least had one my size. He bought me four blue dresses a pair of black boots and white stockings. I was filled with so much joy I no longer felt the pain in my legs and ran down the streets, swirling my skirt. Simeon scolded me and grasped my hand, heading into another area.
We ate lunch in a ruddy old tavern infested with many men of all kinds. Simeon held my hand tighter with each step we took inside. My mouth watered at the sight of other meals. Men with long tangled beards gulp greedily at brown colored drinks and yelled at waitresses’ rudely. This aging woman came over to our table and stared hard at Simeon.
“Who this?” she snarled. People look over at our direction. I folded my hands together with my head held up high.
“Niece.” He said taking a sip of his drink.
“Is this true little girlie?” she asked me her ugly thin lips curled up into what I think was a smile.
I nodded, twirling my hair around my finger.
“You know he’s a pretty little girl killer?” she laughed hard. The muscles in my jaw tensed.
“That’s enough. Stop frightening her.”
Relief fell into me when she turned to chat with some other full table.
That entire day killed off every suspicion and prejudice I had towards him. He was quiet for most of the time as I shared my dreadful memories of the orphanage. I was called a troublemaker by the adults. I was called great number of cruel names by my peers. The food was terrible, nights were unbearable cold and worst of all I was lonely. My only refuge was the little church beside the building. I snuck inside during free time just to read the huge bible the preacher left behind. I couldn’t read that well but I understood a majority of it to get a sliver of hope in that dreaded place. When I couldn’t take another day I just had to run. Run anywhere. I knew there was a better place.
There was no orphanage in the village but Simeon promised me that he would never let me set foot in another ever again.
“How about you?” I smiled curiously.
I learned that he was twenty years old, nine years older than me. And that he didn’t live in the village too long. Only three years. He offered me boarding until he could find me a suitable home. Thrilled, I hugged him and immediately asked if we would attend church. Simeon frowned and let out a sluggish sigh.
“If there was a God I wouldn’t want to associate with him anyway.”
Those words left me dumbfounded.
“Oh…” was all I could say.
Simeon taught me to read better. I leaned against his side and repeated the words he read as the fire crackled in the cold night. Sometimes he made me read my favorite books out loud to him. There were nights when I thought he’d never die into sleep. At times Simeon would just lie before the fireplace covered in a thick quilt, reading or carving a chunk of wood. If I couldn’t sleep I would sneak up beside him and watch him shave the wood into a beautiful sculpture. When he was through he handed it over to me for my approval. They were always lovely figures. He devised the jittery rabbits and hungry foxes that roamed the woods. He carved plump hearts and lively birds. But to his dismay my favorite ones were of the women. I always imagined them as my very own dolls but he refused to let me fool with them, setting them on the highest shelf where I couldn’t reach with even a stool in hand. Months passed and Simeon could not find another haven for me to board in. Soon the villagers did believe that I was his dear niece and treated Simeon with a new attitude. I turned twelve as the winter died. Simeon crafted me a set of wooden dolls that kept me occupied when he was busy shipping wood over to the village. It was the best gift I had ever received. Simeon turned twenty-one in the middle of the blazing summer. We didn’t do much but I sang him a song that I overheard Rosi sing to him when we visited the village. He acted as if it were the best gift he had ever received in his life.
When the sun faded in the sky Rosi would arrive and I dreaded her aggravating presence. I paid no attention to her as she batted her sheer lashes at him, swatting her hand at him as she spoke imprudently. Rosi’s dirt packed eyes shot us displeased looks if Simeon paid more attention to me during her existence. I remember those demented nights when she slipped into his bedroom, making his name ring out so loud through the thin walls. Every time her ugly voice got louder, I would repeat in my head: I hate her, I hate her, I hate her.
For his birthday Rosi purchased him a white stallion that I immediately fell in love with. Lolita was her name and I enjoyed every moment caring for her or riding her along with Simeon, but he never let me ride by myself because I was still too small.
I never planned to make Rosi flee and leave him alone for good but one night I ruined their regular truce. Simeon had promised me money to purchase any book I wanted and let me stay at the book store alone without his supervision for good time. Time passed and I took no notice of the long hours. The bookkeeper ordered me out of the store I quickly decided to buy a thick volume of fairytales filled with pretty pictures of everlasting happy endings. I knew he told me to wait for him but I was too ecstatic about the book I purchased and looked forward to reading to him. Swollen snowflakes drifted lazily on my way to the building where Rosi resided. I peered inside the corridor reluctant to call out his name in the silent darkness. An acrid smell drifted from a hearth in a nearby room. I followed its scent and scurried to the center finding a slightly open door. The moans, interrupted by a snort of laughter belong to Rosi’s. I stepped out into the back porch to find them in a sickening embrace. I slammed my book down, fury eating me alive. Simeon ceased his salacious kisses and Rosi mouth gaped. Her flimsy nightgown exposed her perfect shoulders that gleamed in the moonlight. She coughed up a laugh, looking to Simeon for an answer.
“I thought I said to stay.” He berated. My chest was on fire, my heart turned combustible with envy. Rosi had taken his deepest affections and I coveted it without shame. Rosi poked the middle of my head and said ever so sweetly “Children are not allowed here.” That insulted me more than anything else - I had just turned thirteen yesterday. I struck her across the face and tore her pretty cheeks and lips in one harsh stroke. She gasped and shielded the running blood on her shocked face. I wasn’t done. Hatred grew stronger as I tackled her clawing at her bare shoulders…her lush hair. Simeon hoisted me up and pinned me to the wall his face blood red. Other women rushed out of their rooms and helped Rosi to her feet. “That little witch!” she spat. Simeon kept his furious gaze on me “Don’t ever act in such way! Do you hear me, child?”
“I’m not a child!” I screamed into the chilly night.
“I don’t ever want to see you again, Simeon.” Rosi cried. “You care much more about that filthy little brute than I!” This confused me a great deal. She was the one he admired the most.
“Rosi…” Simeon calmly said, but she didn’t listen.
“All you ever care about is that thing.” This flattered me only briefly. Fury rose up painfully in my throat but this time I felt like I hated Simeon. I kicked the book into the bank of snow and fled out of there. All the way home I marched without holding Simeon hand. Once inside I did my best to hide my glossy face. He did not speak a word to me, nor did he come to my side or even signal any sort of apology. I ran to my room collapsed in front of the dead fireplace feeling defeated. My tears squished between my lips then dripped into the rug below me. I really wanted him to admit his wrongs but I gave all of hope of him repenting. The door creaked and I sucked in my breath as he knelt beside me. “Go away.” I choked. He didn’t and I was glad.
“I hate you.” I said testing him. He still stayed and this time embraced me tightly, making me rise up to face him. I quickly changed my mind and held him back.